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LEGAL House Intelligence Committee Chairman Enters Phase II of Probe into Anti-Trump Dossier
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Enters Phase II of Probe into Anti-Trump Dossier

    6:08 AM PT — Wed. February 21, 2018

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is launching round two of his investigation into alleged political bias and misconduct of Obama-era officials.

    Reports released Tuesday say Nunes sent a letter to past and present staff from the intelligence community as well as the Obama State Department, questioning what they know about the Christopher Steele dossier.

    The committee expects responses from many Obama-era personnel, including fired FBI Director James Comey and then CIA Director John Brennan.

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., strides to a GOP conference joined at right by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., also a member of the Intelligence Committee, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    “We’re moving on to the State Department and the irregularities there. The next phase will be looking at all the cast of characters and conducting those interviews.” — Devin Nunes

    Nunes is asking various questions about the dossier like when did they become aware of any information in the memos, who did they share this information with, and what actions did they take after receiving the information?

    He also asked about the timing of when they first learned or believed the dossier was funded by Democrat entities, by Hillary Clinton, and the DNC.

    Nunes also wants to know if former President Obama was briefed on any dossier information prior to January 5, 2017, and if they discussed that information with any reporters or the media.

    Chairman Nunes also threatened to issue subpoenas if the Obama administration bureaucrats do not comply with answers in a timely manner.

    This next step in the Nunes probe will likely reveal more answers about Obama’s role in the FISA process, and who else might be involved in using the Steele dossier to gain surveillance warrants.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    God Bless Rep Nunes- he has been relentless in his investigation
    Fox News
    Published on Feb 20, 2018
    House Intelligence Committee chair on phase two of the Trump dossier probe and the latest in the Russia collusion investigation: We have found collusion - between Dems, Clinton campaign and Russia. #Tucker
    Fox News
    Published on Feb 20, 2018
    Chairman of the House Intellingence Committee sends questionnaire, including a threat to subpoena information, to James Comey, James Clapper and John Brennan, among others; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports from Washington.
    "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    They're all lawyered up - and what could possibly induce any of them to give truthful, honest answers to these questions? The Fifth will always be there for their safety net. Sigh.
    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

    Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    They're all lawyered up - and what could possibly induce any of them to give truthful, honest answers to these questions? The Fifth will always be there for their safety net. Sigh.
    They cannot be forced to incriminate themselves, but there is no protection against answering questions about their associates. I suspect that there is a lot of evidence that is not being revealed. . . yet.
    "Freedom is not something to be secured in any one moment of time. We must struggle to preserve it every day. And freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."
    -Ronald Reagan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    Nunes is asking various questions about the dossier like when did they become aware of any information in the memos, who did they share this information with, and what actions did they take after receiving the information?

    He also asked about the timing of when they first learned or believed the dossier was funded by Democrat entities, by Hillary Clinton, and the DNC.

    Nunes also wants to know if former President Obama was briefed on any dossier information prior to January 5, 2017, and if they discussed that information with any reporters or the media.

    Chairman Nunes also threatened to issue subpoenas if the Obama administration bureaucrats do not comply with answers in a timely manner.
    There will be perp walks; I dont see how there cant be

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    And at the same time this Rosenstein appointed Mueller special council investigation was put together to find what- if any- collusion there was between PDJT and 'The Russians'. Last week Rosenstein said that Mueller found no collusion between PDJT and the Russians

    IT IS TIME FOR ROSENSTEIN TO END THE INVESTIGATION. At this point the Sessions Justice Dept can carry on without any special council.

    Russian Indictments Are Headfakes

    February 21, 2018

    Last Friday afternoon, the Justice Department announced the indictment of 13 Russian people and 3 Russian companies. Why Friday afternoon? Usually, later Friday releases are document dumps.

    Why indict 13 Russian people and 3 Russian companies. Russia will never extradite their citizens.. There will never be a trial. And no trial means evidence will notbe seen by the American people.

    Speaking of evidence, remember the very first unclassified document released by Dennis Clapper, John Brennan and James Comey. There was not one shred of evidence in that report; it contained assessments and opinions.

    So why indict the Russians? It keeps the collusion story alive for the irresponsible mainstream media, the purveyors of fake news. Only the mainstream media would believe that 13 Russians were capable of throwing the election. The fact that Mueller never intended to try the Russians, because he knew they were not extraditable, is at the center of the “keep the collusion story alive at whatever cost.”

    Plain and simple, there is no evidence supporting the claim of Russian meddling in our election. This Russian story is still a hoax. Yet the Democrats and John Brennan, Dennis Clapper, Jim Comey and, now, Bob Mueller continue to promote this ruse.

    Or, possibly, the Russian indictments were meant to cover up another breaking story: Acting Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe altered the investigative notes that Agent Peter Strzok recorded when he questioned General Michael Flynn. Then McCabe destroyed all evidence of the revision.

    Remember when FBI Director James Comey stated Flynn did not lie to FBI investigators while under oath. Then, months later, Mueller indicted Flynn for lying in that original interview. What changed during the interim? McCabe’s alteration of Flynn testimony.

    So now the questions become: Why isn’t Mueller investigating Andrew McCabe? Why isn’t Mueller investigating Hillary Clinton since everyone knows she violated the law. Why isn’t Mueller investigating James Comey for releasing classified information to the public?

    The Washinton Times headline (1/31/2018) asked, “Why was Judge recused from Mueller/Flynn case?” What strange language. Judges usually recuse themselves from a case. The Washington Times article makes it sound like someone in power removed Judge Rudolph Contreras for cause. The statement from the US District Court was succinct:
    “The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia judge presiding over the criminal case for Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has been recused from handling the case, a court spokesman said on Thursday.”

    Joe DiGenova, former US Attorney for the District of Columbia, claimed that Judge Contreras was removed for cause: “I learned over the weekend that he (Contreras) did not recuse himself. He was removed from the case. Now the question for any good reporter at the Washington Post – the alternative universe in DC – is ‘why was Judge Contreras removed from the case by either the Chief Judge or the DC Circuit?’ Have you seen a story written about that? Isn’t interesting how people in the press are not interested why the one judge who has taken a guilty plea in this case was removed from the case?”

    Was Judge Contreras the judge who approved the FISA warrant based on the phony Christopher Steele dossier? Apparently, the answer is yes. Then, why isn’t Mueller investigating Judge Rudolph Contreras?

    One final comment about the indictments of the 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies: There is not one allegation of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign or administration. Oops!

  7. #7
    Nunes Threatens To Subpoena Dirty Obama Officials: Will Brennan Face Perjury Charges?

    Earlier Tuesday Chairman Nunes sent letters to at least 20 former Obama officials in an effort to discover their connection to the Clinton-funded dossier. If those officials don’t respond, Nunes confirms to Tucker he will subpoena every last one of the dirty lying bastards.

    Video 3:45

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    The saying "the wheels of the mill grind slowly, but finely" comes to mind.....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    "Ask Jeff Sessions!"

    Trump Again Presses Jeff Sessions Over Russia Probe
    The president suggests the special counsel is looking at the wrong administration

    Feb. 21, 2018 3:49 p.m. ET

    President Donald Trump on Wednesday renewed his public pressure on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, suggesting the Justice Department should be looking at the Obama administration as it probes possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    In a tweet Wednesday, Mr. Trump wrote: “If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation? Why didn’t Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren’t Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Sessions!”

    Mr. Sessions, who advised Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign, has repeatedly come under fire from the president after having recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation last year. That decision led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, after Mr. Trump fired James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director last May. That special counsel’s probe, which is examining Russian interference in the 2016 election and any links to the Trump campaign, has ensnared several top Trump campaign associates.

    In his tweet Wednesday, it wasn’t clear what “Dem crimes” Mr. Trump was alleging, but he has previously criticized the Justice Department for not pursuing a prosecution of his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, over her alleged mishandling of classified emails.

    It also wasn’t clear what Mr. Trump was suggesting the Obama administration didn’t do about Russian election meddling. Less than a month before he left office, then-President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia related to its work in 2016. The State Department expelled what it described as 35 intelligence operatives from the U.S., and the administration imposed asset freezes and travel bans on Russian officials.

    As that was happening, members of the incoming Trump administration were working to undermine the impact of those sanctions, according to court documents.

    Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI about a series of calls he made with Russia’s then-ambassador to the U.S., including discussion of sanctions. Mr. Flynn is now cooperating with Mr. Mueller’s probe.

    Then, last year, Congress voted to further punish Russia for its meddling, by memorializing in law the Obama administration’s sanctions and requiring the Trump administration to list oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government. At the end of January, the Treasury Department published a list, but in a break from what Congress required, it didn’t impose sanctions on individuals doing business with Russian military or intelligence bodies.

    Asked Tuesday about this approach, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “there’s a process that has to take place, and we’re going through that process.”

    A spokeswoman for the Justice Department declined to comment.

    Senate and House Democratic leaders on Wednesday sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requesting their support in increasing the FBI’s budget by $300 million to combat foreign influence in elections. That came days after Mr. Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three companies for alleged crimes tied to the use of a “troll” factory to sow political discord on social media, an effort that also sought to help Mr. Trump and hinder Mrs. Clinton.

    “We have Russian operatives flooding our social media platforms with misinformation,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) in a conference call about the request. It is “not clear” what the Trump administration is doing about it, he said.

    A spokeswoman for Mr. Ryan, AshLee Strong, made no commitments on whether he would support the expenditure.

    “The bipartisan House Intel Committee has conducted a year-long review into Russia meddling in the 2016 elections,” she said. “This review, along with the Senate Intel and FBI investigations, will inform lawmakers on ways to protect the 2018 election.”

    Some former federal prosecutors said Mr. Trump is wrong to pressure Mr. Sessions on investigations.

    Jimmy Gurulé, a University of Notre Dame law professor and former assistant attorney general in Republican President George H.W. Bush’s administration, said in an interview that the president shouldn’t look to determine who gets prosecuted.

    “When the president sends out tweets like this—why aren’t the Democrats being prosecuted?—that sounds to me like a president from an authoritarian country, where the prosecutor is an arm and extension of the president and people are being politically persecuted.”

    Robert Ray, who served as independent counsel in the investigation into the Bill Clinton-era Whitewater land deal, said he didn’t believe Mr. Trump’s actions in this instance are improper. As president, Mr. Trump establishes policy for the entire executive branch, with no exception carved out for the Justice Department, Mr. Ray said.

    In an email, Mr. Ray wrote that if Mr. Trump “wants to steer DOJ towards investigation of Russian meddling’ involving a prior administration, why not? That may have adverse political consequences, but in my judgment is not improper.”

    Mr. Trump has said his campaign didn’t work with Russia in 2016, although several people in Mr. Trump’s orbit have admitted to having had contact with Russians during the campaign. The Mueller team has indicted two other Trump campaign officials, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, for alleged financial misdeeds in work that predated the campaign. They have pleaded not guilty.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    "Stay tuned for phase 2"
    Published on Feb 21, 2018
    Dr. Sebastian Gorka of Have you read the 37-page indictment special counsel Robert Mueller just dropped on us? Well, I have. And here's what you need to know.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I doubt they will ask any questions that they don't already know the answers to.

    "What do you know about________________?", and we know exactly what you knew...and you know that we know.

    Part of the swamp draining process.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

    Member: Nowski Brigade


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    February 26, 2018

    Developing: Comey, Brennan and Clapper Have Until Friday to Disclose When They Knew Dossier Was Funded by DNC

    by Jim Hoft
    Former Deep State officials James Comey, John Brennan and James Clapper have until Friday to tell Congress when they knew the Trump dossier was funded by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton Campaign.

    FOX News reported:

    In a letter obtained by Fox News, committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., posed a string of dossier-related questions to current and former intelligence, law enforcement and State Department officials. He specifically wants to know when they learned the document was funded by Democratic sources, and how it was used to obtain one or more surveillance warrants at the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

    In the Feb. 20-dated letter, Nunes even threatened to issue subpoenas.

    “If you do not provide timely answers on a voluntary basis, the Committee will initiate compulsory process,” he wrote.
    2 min

    james hoft
    Published on Feb 26, 2018
    Comey, Brennan and Clapper Have Until Friday to Disclose When They Knew Dossier Was DNC Funded

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    Well worth the minute that this takes to read

    Central View: FISA-gate: The emerging storm
    William Hamilton
    Central View
    February 26, 2018

    What's about to happen in Washington, D.C. will make the Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the Clinton-Lewinsky scandals seem inconsequential. So, here are some legal terms which may be helpful:

    "The fruit of the poisonous tree" means that evidence against an accused obtained illegally and, specifically, in violation of the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE), can taint the prosecution's case so badly that the entire case must be dismissed.

    Another term is: "discovery." Under the FRE, the prosecution and the defense must share all of the evidence that is germane to the case at trial. Gone are the days when TVs Perry Mason or his opposing District Attorney could spring surprise witnesses or evidence on each other.

    Nor can the prosecution hide "exculpatory evidence," that might be helpful to the defense. Prosecuting attorneys can be held-in-contempt for hiding "exculpatory evidence."

    The judge and the lawyers for both sides are supposed to be present when a case is discussed in a judge's chambers. If both sides are not represented, that is called an "ex parte" proceeding. Because they can cause a judge to be overruled on appeal, "ex parte" proceedings are rare.

    "Conflicts of interest" are to be avoided. Judge Rudolph Contreras served on the FISA Court that issued the warrant for the "wire tapping" of the Trump campaign, to include Lt. General Michael Flynn. Incredibly, the initial trial judge in the General Flynn case was Judge Contreras. Judge Contreras finally "recused" himself. But only AFTER Flynn enter his guilty plea. Grounds for appeal?

    "Sua sponte" means on his or her own. If a judge suspects something is amiss, a judge might issue a "sua sponte" ruling. Often used when the judge suspects there are grounds for dismissal and the prosecutor is dragging his or her feet. On December 12, 2017, U.S. District Judge, Emmet G. Sullivan, who replaced Judge Contreras, issued a "sua sponte" order to Special Counsel Robert Mueller with regard to General Flynn.

    Then, on January 31, 2018, Mueller filed a motion asking that the sentencing of General Michael Flynn be delayed until May 1, 2018. Mueller may have requested the delay to insure that Flynn keeps cooperating. But there are indications that Flynn did not lie to the FBI but only pled guilty because Mueller threatened to indict Flynn's son. Watch for Flynn to be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea. Unfortunately, Flynn has already incurred thousands of dollars of lawyer fees. We report. You decide.

    If the FISA warrant that allowed the "wiretapping" of individuals within the Trump presidential campaign and during the post-election transition was obtained by the use of false evidence paid for by the Hillary for President Campaign and the Democratic National Committee, Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, may have to drop his entire Russian-collusion investigation.

    We now await a report from Obama-appointee, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which may provide information leading to the criminal indictment of certain Obama Administration officials in the Department of Justice and the FBI. It is possible that the person who directed these alleged illegalities and also squelched the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation was none other than former President Barack H. Obama. If so, we could face a Constitutional storm.

    Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and was a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Hamilton is the author of "The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: The Sage of Sheepdog Hill," Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017).
    "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness"

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    Tomorrow is the deadline to respond to the phase 2 questions. But Nunes is still steamrolling ahead everyday

    Fox News
    Published on Mar 1, 2018
    Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff is admitting the 'damning' information he's been playing up for more than a year is already in the public domain.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2002

    I've heard this story before.

    I guess I am doubting Doomer, much like the Apostle Thomas. When I see these perps actually doing the perp walk, in cuffs, and all the cameras there, then I will believe. I got burned on Bengahzi. I got burned on Uranium One. I got burned on the Clinton Foundation.

    Chavetz, Gowdy, Issa all had their little dog and pony investigations. The end result was a big fat ZERO. Nunes talks the talk. I am just waiting for him to walk the walk.

    I will gladly eat crow, or any other bird, the day I see Hellary Clinton doing a perp walk into a Cuban Cell.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" is available for sale at the following url

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    Update on the responses from the questions
    8 min

    Fox News
    Published on Mar 5, 2018
    Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes wants to know what top ranking Obama officials knew about the anti-Trump dossier.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    The heart of Russiagate: Probes by Nunes, Grassley, and Graham will point to Obama task force
    By J.E. Dyer March 5, 2018

    The gun debate has taken over the airwaves in the last couple of weeks, but flying under the radar is a set of developments in the congressional “Russiagate” probes which, taken together, could turn a definitive klieg light on the critical period before the 2016 election.

    What the klieg light will illuminate is the coordinated operation within the Obama administration that used the Steele dossier.

    The critical period runs from the very end of July to the end of October, when the FBI applied for the FISA warrant for surveillance of Carter Page. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on the House Intelligence Committee, and Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), are separately pursuing information that would shed light on that period, and we’ll look at their queries in a moment.

    Nunes, meanwhile, is reported to also be preparing another Intelligence Committee memo as a follow-on to the first one, published in February, which identified how the Christopher Steele dossier was used to obtain the FBI’s surveillance approval on Carter Page.

    The next memo, according to Paul Sperry, is to outline the role of the Obama State Department in both assembling the dossier and shopping it around in the Obama administration.

    Nunes plans to soon release a separate report detailing the Obama State Department’s role in creating and disseminating the dossier — which has emerged as the foundation of the Obama administration’s Russia “collusion” investigation. Among other things, the report will identify Obama-appointed diplomats who worked with partisan operatives close to Hillary Clinton to help ex-British spy Christopher Steele compile the dossier, sources say.

    Sperry’s next passage is key:

    “Those are the first two phases” of Nunes’ multipart inquiry, a senior investigator said. “In phase three, the involvement of the intelligence community will come into sharper focus.”

    The aide, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said Nunes will focus on Brennan as well as President Obama’s first CIA director, Leon Panetta, along with the former president’s intelligence czar, James Clapper, and national security adviser, Susan Rice, and security adviser-turned U.N. ambassador Samantha Power, among other intelligence officials.

    “John Brennan did more than anyone to promulgate the dirty dossier,” the investigator said. “He politicized and effectively weaponized what was false intelligence against Trump.”

    Such “phase three” findings would effectively bring every relevant element of the Obama administration – the DOJ, the FBI, national intelligence and the NSC organization, and the State Department – into the apparently organized use of the Steele dossier to justify investigating Trump and his associates.

    Collateral indications of a coordinated operation

    This shouldn’t surprise us. We’ve had previews of this possibility from earlier investigative work, like that of Lee Smith, who laid out the case in February for John Brennan’s central role in using and pushing the dossier’s contents.

    Moreover, the disclosure from Senate investigators of the Susan Rice “email for the record,” sent on Trump’s inauguration day to memorialize a high-level meeting with Obama on 5 January 2017, has already confirmed for us that the issue of “mistrusting Trump” – purportedly regarding him as a national security risk – had the highest level of visibility in the previous administration.

    Partisans can interpret that point differently, but unless Susan Rice was simply making a false statement in her email, the point itself is undisputed.

    The meeting she wrote about occurred immediately after a “briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election.” That means either DNI James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan, or their high-level deputies, were present for the briefing. Rice’s email recorded that “President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.” It was in this follow-on conversation that the question of sharing information with Trump was discussed.

    These are the actors and agencies whose presence clarifies that the “Trump-Russia” topic had the top-level visibility of the Oval Office.

    Any suggestion that such centralized visibility didn’t exist cannot be credible. This is not a banal observation; it goes to the heart of the long-running, implicit narrative from Democrats and the media that agencies and officials in the Obama administration had little knowledge of what others were doing, and in particular, that no matter who knew about the Steele dossier, the dossier wasn’t a central document and was never really important.

    Top Obama officials (e.g., John Brennan, James Comey) have at times been at pains to distance themselves and their agencies’ activities from the dossier. As each new piece of information comes out, whether it’s about the dossier or not, it is inspected by the media in isolation (or only in carefully chosen context), and often treated by the media and Democratic politicians as if institutional knowledge of it was severely restricted, and as if it is conspiracist nonsense to suggest what the implications would be of wider knowledge in the Obama administration, and action by the administration on such a basis.

    Yet that is an absurd perspective, even if, after months of tendentious coverage, our minds may not be adjusted to see it.

    Fresh questions from Congress

    Correcting that perspective is a key reason why the questions Congress has sent out since the first of this year matter. The answers to Nunes’ recent questions to the FBI would begin to peel a crucial layer off the film sustaining the false perspective about what was going on inside the Obama administration. And the questions from Grassley and Graham, directed to officials of the Democratic Party, would shed light on how the actions of other Democrats outside the administration — potentially including the DNC and the Hillary campaign — may (or may not) have been connected.

    Nunes’ questions for the FBI are about agency rules for the use of evidence in surveillance applications. The FBI’s procedural regulations are clear that unverified information should not be used in such applications. The issue is not even whether it should be relied on as primary; it’s that it shouldn’t be included at all, if it is not verified by the FBI.

    Since the Steele dossier was unquestionably used in the FISA application for Carter Page, this is an important question. Nunes’ letter confines itself to asking whether the FBI had changed procedures from 2011 that prohibited the use of such unverified information.

    But the congressman is also, in effect, keeping alive the implied follow-on questions. Why would the FBI use information it knew, at the time the application was submitted (around 21 October 2016), to be unverified?

    Implicit in Nunes’ query is a basic point about which the public has no verifiable information. What else was there – apart from the dossier – to justify surveillance of Carter Page? If there was such evidence, it is remarkable that a year and a half later, we still have no clear idea what it was. (Lee Smith’s article, linked above, summarizes a likely – if suspiciously circular – possibility: a relay of intelligence from the British to John Brennan’s CIA. The original provenance of that intelligence – a non-British source – was reportedly considered dubious by others in the intel community. See the Washington Post story linked below.)

    The “George Papadopoulos” story line had nothing to do with justifying surveillance of Page, nor did the “Russian hacking” story line, whether in terms of what the intel community believed, or in terms of what the FBI was said to be investigating at the time.

    These separate pieces – Papadopoulos and “Russian hacking” – are said to have had specific catalytic effects in the overall drama. But apart from the dossier, neither of them pointed to Carter Page.

    Why the FBI submitted a FISA application that included reference to the unverified dossier information is a core question, with implications about the role played by both the IC and the FBI.

    That, in turn, is why the period from late July to mid-October 2016 is so critical.

    Locus of coordination: The high-level task force

    What makes it of supreme importance is the fact that – if the Washington Post is right – we already know that that’s when the highest officials in the Executive Office of the President, the intelligence community, the State Department, the DOJ, and the FBI began working together on a special task force to “analyze” whether Trump and his associates were “colluding” with Russia, and decide what to do about it.

    The agencies, in other words, in which there was, verifiably, “separate” knowledge of the Steele dossier, were working together on a special task force convened on Obama’s order, meeting in the White House Situation Room, and accountable to the Oval Office.

    The task force included the highest-level officials. But it also included “several dozen” hand-picked analysts from the CIA, NSA, and the FBI. The assembling of this band of analysts makes it impossible that the dossier – and other key elements of the putative brief against “Trump” and “Russia,” whatever they may have been – were known only within agency compartments, from which information was not being shared. It makes it impossible for the FBI to have been pursuing an “FBI investigation” that no one else had visibility on – about the very subject for which the task force had been convened.

    The analysts have been alluded to in two interesting places: the WaPo story, and a quote from John Brennan in Paul Sperry’s article from February 2018.

    Brennan spoke in testimony in 2017 about vetting the IC’s report on “Russian interference” in 2016 through a hand-picked group of analysts from the CIA, NSA, and FBI. The odds are low that this hand-picked group was someone other than the analysts on the Obama-convened task force – especially given the wariness of some of the intel agencies about the IC report’s findings.

    We will see below the kind of task force the Post described. It is not reasonably possible that the dossier was being used inside agency stovepipes in such a task force, and that no one was communicating about it to people sitting across a conference table.

    This is what Congress is effectively trying to get to the bottom of. The operations of this task force are what Nunes’ questions about the use of the dossier in the FISA application would begin to pry open.

    Susan Rice’s email for the record from 20 January 2017 serves as a reminder that the task force existed – and thus as a mental corrective for any depiction of the Obama administration’s actions as decentralized, with offices and agencies unaware of what others were doing.

    No ordinary operation

    If you don’t remember hearing about this task force, you’re probably in good company. I had to be reminded of it in the course of research myself. The WaPo article emphasizes how secretive its activities were at the time:

    The unit functioned as a sealed compartment, its work hidden from the rest of the intelligence community. Those brought in signed new non-disclosure agreements to be granted access to intelligence from all three participating agencies.


    The Situation Room is actually a complex of secure spaces in the basement level of the West Wing. A video feed from the main room courses through some National Security Council offices, allowing senior aides sitting at their desks to see — but not hear — when meetings are underway.

    As the Russia-related sessions with Cabinet members began in August, the video feed was shut off. The last time that had happened on a sustained basis, officials said, was in the spring of 2011 during the run-up to the U.S. Special Operations raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.

    But the features of the task force’s inception and operation were reported as early as June 2017, and they dovetail with the other information we have.


    To recount a brief timeline: the House Democrats’ counter-memo on the FBI and the FISA warrant gives us a date of 31 July 2016 for when the FBI launched its investigation of potential “collusion.”

    The WaPo story then indicates that Obama’s order to convene the task force was given in the week before he went on vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, which he departed for on Saturday, 6 August 2016.

    According to WaPo, the catalyst for the task force was a briefing from Brennan, given in the Oval Office to Obama, Susan Rice, and two other senior officials.

    In early August, Brennan alerted senior White House officials to the Putin intelligence, making a call to deputy national security adviser Avril Haines and pulling national security adviser Susan E. Rice aside after a meeting before briefing Obama along with Rice, Haines and [White House Chief of Staff Denis] McDonough in the Oval Office.

    The task force brought together the intel community and DOJ/FBI as it initial core.

    Brennan convened a secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI. …

    They worked exclusively for two groups of “customers,” officials said. The first was Obama and fewer than 14 senior officials in government. The second was a team of operations specialists at the CIA, NSA and FBI who took direction from the task force on where to aim their subsequent efforts to collect more intelligence on Russia.

    Rice, Haines and White House homeland-security adviser Lisa Monaco convened meetings in the Situation Room to weigh the mounting evidence of Russian interference and generate options for how to respond. At first, only four senior security officials were allowed to attend: Brennan, Clapper, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and FBI Director James B. Comey. Aides ordinarily allowed entry as “plus-ones” were barred.
    Quickly added to it: the State and Defense Department leadership.

    Gradually, the circle widened to include Vice President Biden and others. Agendas sent to Cabinet secretaries — including John F. Kerry at the State Department and Ashton B. Carter at the Pentagon — arrived in envelopes that subordinates were not supposed to open. Sometimes the agendas were withheld until participants had taken their seats in the Situation Room.
    Next in the timeline is the “insurance policy” text between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, on 15 August 2016 after a meeting with (then) deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe. The events in the WaPo article suggest that some allusion to the task force of which the FBI formed an integral part, and to which it contributed some of the “several dozen” analysts, had to be on Strzok’s mind when he sent that text.

    McCabe clearly had to know about the task force – as did Strzok (at least eventually), a top counterintelligence agent specializing in Russia. (He was shortly to be promoted, in fact, to the job he held when the FISA application was submitted in October 2016: Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI for Counterintelligence. His immediate boss, the Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, was Bill Priestap.)

    It was 10 days after that text, on 25 August, that then-Senator Harry Reid got his first briefing on the supposed “collusion” information from John Brennan. Brennan’s centrality in instigating concern and making sure the contents of the dossier were spread in Washington must not be missed. Brennan has received little attention, but as Lee Smith’s Tablet article demonstrates, he was a key figure (quoting Smith’s bullet points):

    - In July 2016, Brennan, according to his own testimony, initiated the Russia investigation and pushed the FBI to get on the case.

    -In early August 2016, Brennan briefed Obama on Russian interference. He explained that Putin’s explicit purpose is to aid Trump. That assessment, according to the Washington Poststory describing the meetings, was not yet endorsed by other intelligence agencies, including the FBI.

    -In late August, Brennan briefed congressional leaders on the same topic.

    As I recounted in February, Reid sent a letter to the FBI on 27 August expressing concern about what he had just been briefed on by Brennan – points that mirrored those in the Steele dossier.

    Strzok and Lisa Page then had their next famous text exchange on 2 September, in which they referred to an upcoming meeting Strzok would attend – apparently about “Russiagate” – and Page stated that “potus wants to know everything we are doing.” The meeting in question took place on 7 September.

    The high-level task force was several weeks old at that point, with representatives from the NSC, the intel community, DOJ, the FBI, and the State Department. On an unnamed date in September, State Department official Jonathan Winer – a friend of Christopher Steele’s since 2009 – met with Steele and perused portions of the dossier.

    Winer had received copies of private intelligence reports compiled by Steele since Winer’s return to the State Department in 2013, when John Kerry became secretary of State. Winer had passed those reports around within the State Department. After meeting with Steele, he wrote a summary memo on the dossier information and forwarded it to Victoria Nuland. Winer says he and Nuland agreed that Kerry should be told about it, although he doesn’t explicitly state that Kerry was briefed.

    On 23 September 2016, the now-famous article by Michael Isikoff was published at Yahoo! In that article, as Isikoff clarified in February 2018, he was quoting information Christopher Steele had given him about what the FBI was doing with the contents of Steele’s dossier.

    That means the FBI was acting on the dossier prior to 23 September. In his article, Isikoff also mentioned a joint statement from Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-FL) after a briefing they received from the intel community.

    It was during September 2016 that Steele, at the behest of Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS, briefed not just Isikoff but other media outlets – the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and CNN – according to Steele’s affidavit in a British court filing in May 2017.

    In “late September,” Jonathan Winer – after previously meeting with Steele – met with Hillary Clinton crony Sidney Blumenthal, who showed Winer notes from Hillary Clinton crony Cody Shearer, which “alleged the Russians had compromising information on Trump of a sexual and financial nature.”

    Winer showed the information from Blumenthal to Steele, who, Winer later learned, “[shared it with] the FBI, after the FBI asked him to provide everything he had on allegations relating to Trump, his campaign and Russian interference in U.S. elections.”

    The FBI has stated that it terminated its connection with Steele on 30 September 2016, after it learned that Steele had told Michael Isikoff about FBI activities with the dossier information for the 23 September Yahoo! article.

    Thus, presumably, Steele’s dump of the Shearer-Blumenthal information to the FBI would have occurred right around that time (the end of September 2016).

    The date associated with the FBI’s FISA submission on Carter Page was 21 October 2016, three weeks later.

    This was top-organized and cannot have been decentralized in operation or decision-making

    The takeaway from this timeline is that during the entire period when these things were happening, a high-level task force was operating under the direct supervision of the Executive Office of the President, with several dozen analysts from the FBI, the CIA, and NSA.

    Cognizant officials on the NSC staff, at the State Department, at the Justice Department, at the FBI, and at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the CIA were all aware of what the task force was doing. The FBI, DOJ, and State Department all knew about the Steele dossier.

    Indeed, let’s add one more timeline piece to this: what happened in the week before the FBI launched its “Russia” investigation on 31 July 2016. I have alluded to this several times (e.g., here and here), and it is extremely important to keep it in mind.

    The media had been briefed before the task force was even convened

    On 25 July 2016, just as the Democratic National Convention kicked off in Philadelphia, mainstream media outlets all at once put out a wide-scale flurry of articles retailing a series of points about Carter Page and Paul Manafort, among others, which interestingly mirrored points from the Steele dossier.

    Lee Smith has written about the dossier’s odor of having been orchestrated, in terms of content, by Glenn Simpson based on his own prior research into the U.S. lobbying industry and its connection to shady Russians.

    I wrote in January about Simpson all but drawing the Senate a picture of how he tried to force-feed the dossier to the media in the months before the election, with limited success. The flurry of articles on and just after 25 July – all containing the same set of points – looks very much like the fruit of a media blitz by Fusion GPS: just after the DCCC email release, and apparently timed to coincide with the Democratic convention.

    This knowledge by the media doesn’t just clarify context. It tells us more. As Lee Smith recounts, it was in the “late summer” of 2016, presumably in the next month, that according to John Brennan (in Senate testimony in 2017), “there were some individuals from the various U.S. news outlets who asked [him] about [his] familiarity with [the Steele dossier].” (Emphasis added.) The media’s repetition in July of points from the dossier clarifies that it was the dossier they were asking Brennan about (whether they called it that or not). Just as clearly, Brennan understood the pattern in what he was being asked.

    Conclusion: Everyone knew

    Brennan made a subsequent claim that he never actually saw the dossier until December 2016. But Smith doesn’t think that holds water, and neither do I. Brennan’s own brief to Obama got the high-level task force started. Besides the facts that the dossier’s contents were known to news outlets as early as July 2016, and the media were asking Brennan about them by August 2016, the dossier’s contents were also known to the task force spearheaded by Brennan.

    The dossier was clearly taken seriously by other agencies. It was known about in the FBI and DOJ from early July, and very possibly before that, given that DOJ official Bruce Ohr’s wife was working on the dossier project for Fusion GPS by May 2016. It was used as evidence in the FISA application on Carter Page, even though its information was not considered verified at the time (and some portion was still referred to as unverified by FBI Director James Comey in June 2017).*

    The State Department knew about the dossier by September 2016. The knowledge of all these parties to the high-level task force, and the fact that high-level officials took its information seriously, make it (a) unreasonable in the extreme to suggest that knowledge of the dossier was not widespread across the entire task force, and (b) absurd to suggest that it was not being used by the task force in its investigative charter from President Obama.

    The questions posed by Senators Grassley and Graham, and the questions Devin Nunes is asking the FBI, are not of mere administrative interest. Taken together, the answers to those questions would paint a big yellow arrow pointing to the task force launched in August 2016, and what it was doing in the weeks before the election.

    As always, we are faced ultimately with the larger question. Why isn’t the story of the task force the story? If there is a good-faith story to be told about what Obama’s “Trump-Russia” task force was doing, why do the officials involved seem to diligently skirt telling it publicly?

    * The Democrats’ counter-memo on the FBI FISA application for Carter Page suggests that Bruce Ohr’s knowledge of the dossier through his wife’s employment would not have been a conduit for wider cognizance of the dossier in the DOJ, because Ohr’s portfolio was organized crime and narcotics trafficking, not “counterintelligence,” per se.

    But Ohr’s background in organized crime is exactly why he would have been a ready conduit for further dissemination of the dossier information. I wrote about this in December 2017. Organized crime – in particular, Russian links to organized crime – is the common thread connecting all the players in the Russiagate drama. It was through dealing with Russians in organized crime, in various capacities, that all the major figures knew each other, most of them from well before 2015.

    It was also through links to Russians and organized crime that a handful of Trump associates came under suspicion, and the case was mounted to look for clues about political interference in the U.S. The Russians involved were the same ones the purveyors of the Steele dossier – and the officials of DOJ and the FBI – labored to link to Trump himself and the election.

    Rather than functioning as an alibi for Bruce Ohr, his job title and expertise were what drove his connection, and his wife’s, to both the dossier and the theory of “Trump-Russia” collusion.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    Things really are moving. Update on phase 2

    Fox Business
    Published on Mar 7, 2018
    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) discusses why the investigation into the Trump dossier is so important and explains phase two of the investigation.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "outside the box"
    Boomerang: Intel Committee Now Going After Obama Admin on Fusion GPS

    By Chuck Ross
    March 11, 2018

    Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence are seeking information about the Steele dossier from a former Obama administration official who is married to an employee of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier.

    The committee, chaired by GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California, issued questionnaires Friday to around a dozen former President Barack Obama’s administration officials.

    The Daily Caller News Foundation is told that one of the letters was sent to Shailagh Murray, a former journalist who served as senior adviser to Obama and as former Vice President Joe Biden’s deputy chief of staff.

    Murray’s husband is Neil King, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who worked at the newspaper at the same time as Fusion GPS’s three co-founders, Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch and Tom Catan.

    Murray also worked at The Journal until 2005. She joined the Obama administration in 2011.

    King left The Journal in December 2016 after accepting a buyout offer. Politico reported at the time that he was joining Fusion GPS, which is based in Washington, D.C.

    House Intel Republicans are exploring whether there are similarities to Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and his wife, Nellie Ohr, according to Fox News, which first reported that Murray was being sent a letter.

    Bruce met with Fusion’s Simpson shortly after the election to discuss the dossier. Nellie worked for Fusion at the time as a researcher on the firm’s investigation on President Donald Trump.

    Fox also reports that a questionnaire was sent to Colin Kahl, who served as national security adviser to Biden.

    The letters are part of a Nunes-led investigation into the previous administration’s handling of the dossier. Republicans want to know who in the previous administration knew about the salacious document and whether they shared its allegations with reporters and others in government.

    The letters also inquire when the officials learned that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded the dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele.

    Nunes and other Republican lawmakers, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, have alleged that the FBI and Justice Department abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court process by using the dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

    The agencies failed to disclose the source of the dossier’s funding and also relied on the document even though it was unverified, Republicans say.

    Nunes issued a memo laying out those allegations in January. The memo marked the end of the first phase of his investigation into the dossier. He has since turned his focus on former Obama officials, including officials at the State Department and CIA.

    Nunes sent questionnaires in February to a dozen other Obama administration officials, including CIA Director John Brennan and former FBI Director James Comey.

    Nunes revealed earlier this week that most of the recipients responded to the letters by last Friday’s deadline.

    Do you think Obama administration officials committed crimes to try and stop Trump?

    Please comment on Facebook and Twitter if you want to see them held accountable.


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